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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Chicken Little?

I just returned from the "New Media Seminar 10" in New York City. It's an event sponsored by industry publication "Talkers Magazine" published by long-time industry visionary Michael Harrison. The event draws about 600 programmers, managers and related people who are tied to the news/talk radio industry.

Great group of people. Excellent seminars. Thought-provoking commentaries. Stimulating cocktail party discussions.

Yet, some of the buzz being dispensed to the attendees this year is that "terrestrial radio"is in serious trouble if it doesn't get its act together. There was a sense among those there that news/talk and talk radio is the salvation of terrestrial radio primarily because music radio is dead, dead and more dead. It's this MP3 player thing that's going around.

I respect all of those in attendance who got up on the dais and the podiums and tossed out this theory, philosophy or prediction, but they're just plain wrong. And I'm getting fatigued with "bloggers"and journalists who continue to spout this incorrect theory.

It's a matter of degree really. Certainly, people are finding multiple audio alternatives for their audio listening enjoyment. They're all good and serve a distinct purpose and fulfill a specific need and mood. And the "pie" is being divided up into more pieces.

But all the research I've seen indicates that the public love this. You've heard that "Content is King"? For consumers "Choice is king".

Terrestrial radio will sustain whether it is Talk radio or music radio. Why would anyone listen to terrestrial FM music radio when they can provide themselves all the custom songs they want - whenever they want?

Because radio provides something MP3 players don't: surprises and music discovery. "Pandora's" more of a threat than MP3 players. God help us all if royalty rates slam the door shut on Pandora and others like it. The point is, music on terrestrial, when programmed properly, can easily provide a unique component that will cause people to continue to want to tune in when they are in the mood for it.

So, if you know someone trying to sell this bill of goods that music on FM is going to be extinct within 5 years (let alone 10), have them call me. My personal cell phone number is 323.829.3201. I'll be glad to explain it to them.

Meanwhile, you know what happened when "Chicken Little" cried "the sky is falling", right? Do you even know who Chicken Little is?

He was wrong.

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